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Following suit | Three Connecticut towns and cities lift mask mandates after Hartford decision

Groton, New London and East Hartford have lifted their mask mandates just 24 hours after the decision by the capital city.

HARTFORD, Conn — On Tuesday, Groton, New London and East Hartford lifted their indoor mask mandates. The move came just 24 hours after Hartford decided to drop theirs.

“The same way that the state can have an impact on what municipalities do, I think the larger cities can have an impact on whether smaller cities follow suit,” Diane Mokriski, of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association said.

In a sense, Hartford is back in business.

“I think they did the right thing,” said James Cosgrove, the owner of Salute Restaurant. “We are working 12-hour days and when you have a mask on it just mentally kind of kicks your butt.”

RELATED: City of Harford lifts indoor mask mandate, mayor says

With an infection rate stable around 2% and 65% of Hartford residents vaccinated, the capitol city lifted the mask mandate on Monday.

“I think it’s OK to lift the mandate," Pramod Pandey, of Bristol, said, while Nicolas Serrano of Hartford said: “I would give it a couple more months just to see what happens.”

Hartford’s public health director Liany Arroyo told FOX61 lifting the mandate doesn’t mean people should not wear their masks.

“For myself, when I go into an environment where it’s crowded and where there are many people where I don’t know their vaccination status, I will continue to wear my mask in those environments," Arroyo said.

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As the state heads into the colder indoor months and holiday season, Arroyo explained what would trigger a setback.

“If we see numbers going up and are consistently going up not just in Hartford but around us as well, then that would trigger the conversation to consider going back to a mask mandate," she said.

But for now, businesses are enjoying not having to police people.

“Instead of looking for trouble just let people walk in the door,” said Cosgrove.

And people are looking forward to a day without masks at all. “Eventually that fear will run out and we can just go back to normal,” said Serrano.

RELATED: New 'Screen and Stay' initiative by Lamont administration aimed at keeping kids in school during the pandemic

But to get there, public health officials continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated. The city will hold a clinic for the younger kids ages 5-11 this Sunday at Dunkin Donuts Park.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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